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Title: Vignettes of Egyptian life : an extract from Du'a' al-Karawan by Taha husayn
Authors: Cachia, Pierre
Keywords: Husayn, Taha, 1889-1973 -- Du'a' al-Karawan -- Criticism and interpretation
Issue Date: 1966
Publisher: University of Malta
Citation: Cachia, P. (1966). Vignettes of Egyptian life : an extract from Du'a' al-Karawan by Taha husayn. Journal of Maltese Studies, 3, 33-41.
Abstract: An extract taken by Pierre Cachia from Du'a' al-Karawan by Ṭāhā Ḥusayn. In Husayn Ṭāhā's book, Du'a' al-Karawiin (The Call of the Curlew), the heroine tells how, although she started life as a mere housemaid, she had the good fortune to serve in an enlightened household where she had opportunity to learn both Arabic and French, so that she has developed into a woman of far greater sophistication and refinement of feeling than she would otherwise have become. Her sister Haniidi, also a housemaid, is seduced by her employer, and in accordance with the fierce code of honour that still survives in rural Egypt, her uncle butchers her. The heroine conceives a subtle plan of revenge: she enters the employment of her sister's seducer, inflames his passions but refuses to satisfy them. Having succeeded in driving him to remorse, she then discovers that she also has fallen in love with him, and they marry. The novel is intended to celebrate the victory of love over hate, and the title refers to an imaginary bird that appears in the heroine's visions at moments of high emotional tension. The extract which follows is of little relevance to the story; indeed its earthy realism contrasts strangely with the exalted emotionalism of the rest of the novel. It is, however, colorful and revealing. It picks up the story at the point where the heroine, her mother, and her sister flee the town where Hanadi's shame has been discovered.
Appears in Collections:JMS, Volume 3
JMS, Volume 3

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